Intentionally or Opportunistically Misinterpreting Opinions and History

Even when we try to observe, read, watch, listen clearly and without bias, we inevitably see what we want to see to some extent.

On the issues of Israel and Palestine, its especially difficult.

The terror/war/conflict/invasion/massacre in Gaza in 2008, is an especially loaded question. Anyone that tells you “the fact is” …., rather than “from what I understand, I conclude …..”, is lying.

Maybe not intentionally deceiving, but certainly exagerating the status of observation to the status of authoritative truth.

EVERY evidence is potentially deceiving, as to its political and moral significance, EVERY, from every perspective.

For example, the read that I and most in the west conclude from watching television or reading prominent American press, is that Hamas unilaterally began shelling and firing rockets at Israeli civilians after a six-month cease-fire that was quiet for most of that time. It is true that Hamas shelled Israeli civilian towns in mid-late December.

But, every word of that true statement contains qualification (not lies perse).”Hamas shelled”. Actually Hamas was not the first Palestinian faction to fire rockets after the cease-fire ended. Other factions fired first, but Hamas did state that their request to honor the cease-fire had ended, that in their opinion it was no longer a Palestinian national interest to restrain from firing.

“Unilaterally”. Actually, in early November, there was an incident in which Israel claimed that a suspected tunnel (stated as similar to the one by which Shalit was abducted) was observed under construction in Gaza, and Israel launched a raid to destroy it and attacked the individuals suspected. (It was never clarified if there was in fact a tunnel, or what precipitated the decision to cross the border, in direct contradiction of the cease-fire terms – negotiated verbally through a mediator. Nothing was signed or clarified by any party.) After that incident in which six Hamas members were killed, factions retaliated against Israel both on the ground and in firing rockets at civilian centers. The skirmishes lasted through November. In early December, the skirmishes reduced, near to the status of during the cease-fire, and to the point that both Hamas and Israel could accurately speak of the conditions and prospects of “continuing” the cease-fire.

“Six month cease-fire”. Hamas honored the terms of the cease-fire very closely and enforced those terms of cease-fire on other factions, for four months with a high degree of discipline. They claim that they were promised that the cease-fire agreement was an agreement of cease-fire for in exchange for opened borders between Israel and Gaza and Egypt and Gaza, and not just a unilateral voluntary stopping of rocket-fire from Gaza.

The pro-solidarity movement claims that after the November incident above, the cease-fire was off, that there was no cease-fire in effect at that point. And, that the shelling after December 18, 2008 was not of a different status than previously, and therefore should not have stimulated any need or attempt to engage in any military action.

They claim that ANY military action was therefore a violation of international law, even though it was civilians in Israel that were the random targets of mortars and rockets, and that the shelling and rocket fire had escalated to cities further from the Gaza/Israel border incrementally, before any distinct military action by Israel ensued.

To Israel, the choice to undertake a large scale military action was necessary, as Hamas and other factions had announced that they were in possession of many more rockets than was apparent, had more and more sophisticated anti-tank and other ground weapons, and the intention to wash the streets of Gaza with Israeli soldiers’ blood if they invaded on the ground. Immediately prior to the ground invasion, Hamas officials were reported in Haaretz as declaring that they DESIRED that Israel undertake a ground assault.

So, in exagerated response to those threats, the IDF conducted a large scale military operation along fairly textbook lines of aerial assault on communication, road and electrical infrastructure, and clearing logistical lines of transport broadly.

Lots of self-referencing “truths”, all incomplete, and all collectively incompetent. (It looked to me more like a conspiracy by militant Zionists and militant Palestinians to initiate a violent war they both would seek propaganda points from, civilians be damned.)

So, to my mind, those that quote the propaganda points, express a saddening gullibility.

Both the pro-Palestinian militant movement, and the pro-Zionist militants regard those that see through and publicly disclose that we see through the misrepresentations of each of the narratives, as complicit in their enemies efforts, disloyal or racist.

The ONLY anti-war approach, is the one of negotiation and of mutual humanization. ANY escalatory actions (words as well as deeds) is heat in a pressure cooker.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Intentionally or Opportunistically Misinterpreting Opinions and History

  1. talknic says:

    “Anyone that tells you “the fact is” …., rather than “from what I understand, I conclude …..”, is lying.”

    Uh huh.

    The fact is: on May 14th 1948 the Jewish People’s Homeland State of Israel was declared as a Sovereign State, obliging itself to the principles of the UN Charter (including Chapt XI) http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/Declaration%20of%20Establishment%20of%20State%20of%20Israel

    The fact is: Israel was not declared sovereign over all of the Jewish People’s ‘Historic’ homeland. As of “one minute after six o’clock on the evening of 14 May 1948, Washington time” the Jewish People’s historic homeland became of historic interest only.

    The fact is : on May 15, 1948 the Provisional Government of the State of Israel confirmed the extent of the State of Israel’s sovereignty and “the obligations of Israel to the other nations of the world in accordance with international law” as of “one minute after six o’clock on the evening of 14 May 1948, Washington time.” . http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/decad169.asp.

    The fact is: BEFORE the State of Israel laid claim to any territories under it’s control OUTSIDE of it’s declared frontiers, the State of Israel was recognized de jure “within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947” by the USA and the majority of the International Community of Nations, over riding the Arab States legal objections.

    The fact is: on May 22 1948 and June 15th 1949 the Provisional Israeli Government confirmed the extent of it’s sovereignty in correspondence to the UNSC.

    May 22, 1948 http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/B4085A930E0529C98025649D00410973

    June 15, 1948 http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Foreign+Relations/Israels+Foreign+Relations+since+1947/1947-1974/2+Israel-s+position+on+its+frontiers.htm

    The fact is: It is inadmissible to ‘acquire’ territory by war. ANY WAR http://wp.me/PDB7k-Y#Schwebel

    The fact is: It has been Customary International Law since at least 1845 that legal annexation requires agreement through a referendum of the citizens of the territory being annexed http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/treasures/earlystate/annex-01.html

    The fact is: Israel has never legally annexed any territories to it’s sovereignty. UNSC Resolution 252 (1968) of 21 May 1968 http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/b86613e7d92097880525672e007227a7/46f2803d78a0488e852560c3006023a8?OpenDocument and UNSC Resolutions 267 , 271, 298, 465, 476

    The fact is: the above facts, are not “..what I understand” or what I might ” I conclude …..”

    The fact is: your statement is incorrect.

    • True Talknic,
      But a humble approach (humble relative to reality), would acknowledge my first sentence.

      All propaganda is based on facts. The problem is that the conclusions that most militants/propagandists derive is based on careful selection of what facts are convenient and careful rejection of what facts are inconvenient.

      Hence, the example of the 2008 Gaza war. 1948 is another relevant example. Lots of editorial selection in the CHOICE of facts to read, to consider, to interpret, to guess at.

      Rohrshach.

      • talknic says:

        OK.. acknowledgment of your first sentence.. “Even when we try to observe, read, watch, listen clearly and without bias, we inevitably see what we want to see to some extent.”

        Our intentions will inevitably influence what we want to see, what we look for and where we look for it.

        One can look to prove a belief or one can look to form a knowledgeable opinion. E.g., once the world was flat. It was taken as a fact. Knowledge has proven it was only a belief. Beliefs change with knowledge.

        The world is not flat. The fact existed despite beliefs. So too the truth. A truth needs no justification. The Hasbara is all justification.

        Being a once willing cheer leader who repeated the Hasbara dutifully, I was prompted by a very exacting mentor to prove what I firmly believed with facts. Israel was attacked by the Arab states in 1948. I couldn’t.

        “..All propaganda is based on facts..”

        Point out an instance from this wee list It would be more correct to say some propaganda is sometimes based on some fact.

        “The problem is that the conclusions that most militants/propagandists derive is based on careful selection of what facts are convenient and careful rejection of what facts are inconvenient.

        A propagandist by definition purposefully promotes notions in order to influence the outcome of events in their favour. They do not care that the information might be wrong, a lie, a fallacy. As long as it is out there, being circulated. They do not believe what they promote. They KNOW it isn’t the truth, they do not care about the facts. They depend on people not checking.

        The problem is : Israel ignores it’s voluntary legal obligations.

        Deuteronomy 20:15 tells Israel, the Jewish State which is “…based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel;” … that when Palestine becomes a state, the notion of a Greater Israel will end.

        Hence, the example of the 2008 Gaza war.

        Deuteronomy 20:12

        1948 is another relevant example. Lots of editorial selection in the CHOICE of facts to read, to consider, to interpret, to guess at.

        Full and exact quotes, transcripts, declarations are not editorial, not opinion, not guess work. Nor are the UNSC resolutions.

  2. I think you are stretching Talknic, an example of what I described, rather than a contradiction of it.

    A key point of the process of propaganda is the *selection*.

    Propaganda is for a purpose.

    The reason that I am a liberal Zionist, rather than an expansionist and rather than only a civilist/humanist, is that I believe that self-governance is the most benign form. Literally LIVE and LET LIVE.

    I don’t escalate my conclusion to the level of fact or the authoritative (but still highly subjective) term “justice”. I have to stay more humble relative to that. “I observe”. “I consider important”. “I understand”.

    Always remembering that there is fallable “I” in every formation. As a spiritual person, I also note that there is intimate “Thou” (God) in every formation and do not attribute objectivity (fact) to any concept of God, but attribute “presence”.

    The term “fact” really means a consented and consentable observation. There is the grave danger of “everyone knows” getting escalated to fact. Thats rumor.

  3. talknic says:

    “I think you are stretching Talknic, an example of what I described …”

    Were these statements made by the Israeli Government to the UNSC?
    A) May 22, 1948 http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/B4085A930E0529C98025649D00410973

    B) June 15, 1948 http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Foreign+Relations/Israels+Foreign+Relations+since+1947/1947-1974/2+Israel-s+position+on+its+frontiers.htm

    Whether I point them out, whether you or I believe them or see them or doubt them or not, the fact is they were the words of the Israeli Government. In reference to the territories, they say quite specifically, OUTSIDE of ISRAEL. They will always say the same thing.

    “A key point of the process of propaganda is the *selection*”

    Propaganda can be and often is an outright lie, as demonstrated numerous times in the ‘wee list’. The only ‘selection’ is which outright lie to tell. To say Israel’s boundaries with Palestine were never defined or fixed, is an outright lie.

    “Propaganda is for a purpose”

    The sole purpose of propaganda is to influence, by deception.

    “The reason that I am a liberal Zionist, rather than an expansionist and rather than only a civilist/humanist, is that I believe that self-governance is the most benign form. Literally LIVE and LET LIVE.”

    Likewise, I consider self governance to be a noble aspiration. A question though.. your statement appears to say the reason you are a liberal Zionism is a result of your belief. If that’s the case, then were one to strip away the liberal Zionist, your belief would surely still stand and liberal Zionism is irrelevant to it. So…does liberal Zionism stand in the way of your trying “..to observe, read, watch, listen clearly and without bias..”?

    “On the issues of Israel and Palestine, its especially difficult”

    Which is why there are guiding principles, like the “…principles of the UN Charter” and “…International Law” that one undertakes to uphold.

    “I don’t escalate my conclusion to the level of fact or the authoritative (but still highly subjective) term “justice”. I have to stay more humble relative to that. “I observe”. “I consider important”. “I understand”.

    A) & B) are not propaganda, conclusions or opinions nor are they subjective. They’re indisputable facts in the words of the Israeli Government itself. The facts exist on the record. To point to them is not propaganda, conclusion or opinion.

    “The term “fact” really means a consented and consentable observation.”

    Folk once believed it was a fact that the earth is flat. Proven perhaps by the ‘consented and consentable observation’ that some folk didn’t come back. Followed by the speculation that they must have fallen off the edge? An obvious and ‘consentable observation’ would have been to look at the curvature of a wide ‘flat’ horizon.

    Surely a fact is a concept whose truth can be proven. Especially where the written word is on the record.

  4. All propaganda is based on “truths that can be proven”. The imagination is that a specific “fact” (an honestly true one) is anything more than a true component of something larger and with other equally plausible conclusions.

    The way that I feel betrayed by propagandists, is when they exagerate their conclusions to the level of “fact”, rather than to the actual level of humble interpretation (even stated forcefully). Its the vanity of it, and then the enforcement of that vanity that I cannot accept.

    I see the application of the term “fact” to circumstances, particularly in the discussion of the middle east (and illustrated convincingly at Mondoweiss), as analagous to the relationship of two arguers, then one of them tries to buy a gun. They are no longer peers (in conflict). One is armed. Their argument, their reasoning, isn’t necessarily any better than the other.

    But, one is armed with a vain self-talk “fact”, the other merely has the obligation to well-thought out, and well-intentioned interpretation.

    Its disproportionate. Better to be humble about what are “facts”. Constellations are the epitome of a Rohrshach process (except that constellations were noted for two important purposes – navigation and understanding of the world around them).

    Constellations are collections of dots, that are formed up into repeated and imprinted descriptions of “thats what the map of the stars are, facts”.

    I actually have a lot of respect for those that spoke of the earth as flat, or of the earth as the center of the universe (rather than the solar system – also not a fact that it is the center of the universe, or of galaxies – also not a fact that it is the center of the universe). They were trying to understand, and then to project that understanding to reasonably consented predictions.

    What changed when Copernicus, then Kepler, Galileo, Newton discovered that there were other relationships at play, wasn’t that the “flat earth” hypothesis was untrue (it is more true and useful for purposes on the ground, than the view that the earth is round. The earth is flatter than round, which is why our road maps are on rectangular grids, rather than circular.) They articulated a different interpretation, a more coherent and complex set of relationships.

    A similar shift in consciousness occurs when considering scale, whether one is looking at a tree, a leaf, a cell, a chemical, or a forest, a biome, a planet. Or, in scale of time.

    I encounter it in discussions on global warming. From the perspective of human written history, climate is mostly stable (current history is within the range of historical climate change, not yet a significant change). From the assumption that the last 8,000 years had mostly stable conflict, to “it was always so”, opponents of human-induced climate change, seek to compel all to not ask further questions.

    But, from the perspective of 100,000 year cycles of glaciation, global warming looks very different. From the perspective of the movement of continental drift, even glaciation is a blip.

    From the glacial time fram perspective, one could conclude that the same remedies or goals for a sustainable society are relevant, but for different intellectual references. NOT a thought police, but an actual democracy that reconciles among those that have different perspectives.

    • talknic says:

      All propaganda is based on “truths that can be proven”.

      As before, sometimes propaganda is based on something truthful. However propaganda can be and often is quite simply a blatant lie. Prove your ‘all’ theory by picking one out from th’ wee list….show where the propaganda is based on “truths that can be proven”

      The way that I feel betrayed by propagandists, is when they exagerate their conclusions to the level of “fact”, rather than to the actual level of humble interpretation (even stated forcefully). Its the vanity of it, and then the enforcement of that vanity that I cannot accept.

      We are talking about propagandists, yes? A propagandist doesn’t care. All propaganda by it’s very nature is meant to deceive by appearing to be truthful/fact. They are not interested in discussion. All propaganda has a weakness, discussion will likely reveal it. Where discussion is available, the propagandist will try to derail the discussion by pointing elsewhere, false accusation, misquoting, cherry picking, slurs, more lies, more accusations to prove the first accusation, anything as long as the point is not being discussed.

      I see the application of the term “fact” to circumstances, particularly in the discussion of the middle east (and illustrated convincingly at Mondoweiss), as analagous to the relationship of two arguers, then one of them tries to buy a gun. They are no longer peers (in conflict). One is armed. Their argument, their reasoning, isn’t necessarily any better than the other.

      ‘discussion’ is another matter and I agree to a degree. However, let’s say party A makes a statement. Party B presents a document (with provenance) which disproves A’s statement. B’s evidence IS necessarily better. Party A ignores the evidence, showing themselves to be a propagandist, disqualifying themselves from ‘discussion’.

      But, one is armed with a vain self-talk “fact”, the other merely has the obligation to well-thought out, and well-intentioned interpretation

      An obligation to well-thought out, and well-intentioned interpretation, requires one to seek out the facts wherever possible, THEN form an opinion, shape an argument or interpretation to present those confirmed, verifiable facts.

      Propagandists justify, the Hasbara is justification. Actual fact does not need justification. It can simply be presented.

      ” Better to be humble about what are “facts””

      It’s better to be honest when presenting something as fact (make sure it is) and it’s better to be honest when faced with a fact. e.g ., Richard Witty says: January 25, 2011 at 7:45 am “True Talknic “

      “Constellations are the epitome of a Rohrshach process (except that constellations were noted for two important purposes – navigation and understanding of the world around them).”

      Practical, non-political, non adversarial. Only when understood could it be used for adversarial advantage.

      A propagandist would wish their opponent be lost at sea. Even better, be afraid of falling off the edge of the world. So best not venture at all.

  5. I don’t think we’re getting anywhere.

    • talknic says:

      I’ve addressed all your points where I disagree, whereas my simple request appears to have been missed each time and instead you’ve reiterated the same notion “All propaganda is based on ‘truths that can be proven’ ” / “All propaganda is based on facts”

      It’s rather like watching a train driver not bothering to stop at any stations to pick up passengers because the train has to ‘get somewhere’.

  6. talknic says:

    “What “simple request””

    1 [ Point out an instance from this wee list ]

    2 [ Prove your ‘all’ theory by picking one out from th’ wee list….show where the propaganda is based on “truths that can be proven” ]

  7. I don’t see what you want me to respond to Talknic.

    Are you saying that there is no truth in the statements? (I’m still not sure what you are asking me to comment on?) That they are just lies. Or, that there is some truth to them, but they are used for propagandistic purposes?

    You didn’t like my use of the word “all”, as in “all propaganda contains truth”?

    I think thats it for me on this one. Unless you have something specific and respectful to comment, with some point, this will be the last comment approved.

    • talknic says:

      OMG(oodness)

      “You didn’t like my use of the word “all”, as in “all propaganda contains truth”?”

      Not a matter of like or dis-like. It is quite simply a matter of ‘all propaganda contains truth’ being a false notion. An inability to concede the point or even to acknowledge there is a point of contention at all, belies a less than honest agenda.

      All it would have taken is a small correction on your part, your game would have been lifted out of a stubborn rut….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s